August 31, 2014
Today was remarkable. Our youth speaker, Pemelo a 14-year-old Teacher, used his assigned topic about the restoration, to share a powerful testimony. I kept looking up to make sure I wasn’t listening to a conference speaker. It was thrilling. He occasionally looked down at his notes as he shared his thoughts and then our responsibilities to share the message. Mom went up after church and told him …”when you talked of Joseph Smith seeing God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, I just got goose bumps all over. The Holy Ghost was testifying that what you were saying was true. He looked at Mom and said, “well Sister Harward, it is true.”
Hope, a 21-year-old young lady was the next speaker. The same thing happened. While I could see how frightened she was, she spoke with confidence and a sureness of her testimony of the Savior and truthfulness of the Restoration. It all seemed remarkable to me since she was baptized 2 weeks ago. She was also sustained today as the 2nd counselor in the Young Women’s Presidency.
Mom has been working with the Priesthood to have a “Priesthood Choir” sing for our intermediate hymn. She played “Ye Elders of Israel” and had Wilmer, a 15 yr. old teacher, conduct them. They sounded awesome. President Mashishi said he truly thought he was sitting in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.
Mary, Mom’s piano student, played the opening hymn and did great. We cannot express our gratitude as we counted the number in our Sacrament Meeting…64. Our high is 65. We are out of chairs, but have another 20 coming this week. Things are changing big time. Everyone is trying harder do their part. The chairs were all set up this morning and Sacrament prepared for the meeting. The feelings of love are evident. You can see it in their eyes.
The “field is white already to harvest”. What a blessing it is to be here. Our hearts were full, and the day was not over yet.
After teaching Temple Prep to Justice and Shylet a couple that just moved into the Group from Zim, the meeting block ended with listening to President Winward sharing Elders Bednar’s conference talk on tithing. The Windows of Heaven was explained a little differently. With the windows open, the light can now shine and light our way.
With lots of help from the Lord, we managed to get the families of the three children who were to be baptized today over to the chapel in Polokwane. All three of the children wanted me to baptize them. I’m sure they would have had Mom do it if she could. She is the one who taught them and they really love her. Boitumelo (Tumi), Matshediso, and Titelo (Ti Ti) were thrilled.
After the “ice water plunge”, the water heater is broken, we finished our meeting with the kids sharing their testimonies. I’m pretty sure that at 11 years old, my testimony was not any where close to these kids. They shared tender feelings and their gratitude to be able to have the Gospel in their lives. It was remarkable.
Mom and two of the Sisters put together a little snack for everyone. It was kind of a “2 fish and 5 loaves of bread” experience. There was no way the amount of food that had been prepared was enough to feed the number of members that stayed and ate. Mom and I cry as we watch miracles and “tender mercies” on a daily basis.
The week was a little stressful. Nigel, Rhoda, Nigel’s mom, and Shephard, Nigel’s friend, all come to participate in the negotiation of Labola on Saturday. We were a little concerned to have visitors, since we had not had any water in our flat for the 3 days prior to their arrival, Just a few hours before they got here, the public water system got repaired and WE HAD WATER. I guess I need to work on my faith.
Our record without water is 11 days, so gee, just adapt. With company coming, it is a little easier said than done. I was not sure how to tell our visitors that they will need to just go to the gas station down the road about a mile to use the bathroom, let alone taking a shower out of a cup with heated water from the stove. As it turned out, we enjoyed the company and it was nice to get to know Nigel’s mother.
Rhoda is leaving tonight to go back to Zim. Wow, what a sweet lady. She is so gracious, loving and kind. Her English is limited, but with Nigel’s help we were able to do quite well. Mom and Rhoda seemed to communicate just fine. Mom fussed over her with bubble baths, shopping and even found out her favorite tea (Rooibos Tea) it’s an herbal tea that a lot of the missionaries enjoy too- – Mom even tried some with her. She seemed so happy with the littlest of things. The two boy slept on the floor and Nigel’s Mom got the air mattress.
Tonight Nigel and Nelly presented us with a beautiful granite statue. Nigel had it made especially for us back in Zim- -a Mom and Dad with 4 kids – – he said, “that’s your eternal family!” They were so full of gratitude for our help in getting the Labola settled this past weekend. It was so touching to hear their words of love and gratitude.
Everything went well at the Labola negotiation with the two families. Grandpa was no pushover, but as you can see, everyone was happy in the end. The “Bride Price” was 15,000 rand, an overcoat and walking cane for Grandpa, and a couple of nice blankets for the Aunts. Unfortunately, the “8 cow wife” deal is still alive and well here in Africa.
Traditions are really hard to change, and the Home Affairs office is not helping by requiring a letter of agreement between the two families in order to get married. Without the letter of agreement, you have a big fight on your hands.
Elder Braiser is being transferred on Tuesday. He has been a good missionary. They have done a good job with using the members to help them.
We know a loving Father in Heaven is watching over us and easing the load. There is no way we could ever accomplish the things we have been able to do without His help. He is answering our prayers and always mindful of the smallest of concerns.
We love you. We pray for you, and we miss you. Allow the Lord to lighten your loads, He will.
MOM & DAD